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Let's say I have a simple html page with some text and the text

foo is a single word whereas foo bar are two words

somewhere in it.

Is it possible to prevent search engines from finding the page when searching for foo bar (without double quotes surrounding it)? Searching for foo should find the page though.

Is this possible somehow? Be it meta tag or something on the server side?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Why would you want to do that? Wouldn't you want to rank well for every phrase possible if they pertain to your web pages? You do know that a page can rank well for more then one keyword, right?

You cannot tell search engines what words you want to rank well for and which ones to ignore. They will rank pages for whatever keywords they find to be relevant for that page. You can guide them towards ranking a page better for some keywords then others by use of semantic markup and linking but that's about it.

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It was a customers question and I wasn't quite sure if this was possible at all. I also found this post, which clearly states it's not possible: google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/… – acme Aug 24 '11 at 15:28
Now you can be confident in your answer to your customer! Great link, too. – John Conde Aug 24 '11 at 15:30

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